Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou_Opera _House

Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China

LOCATION: Guangzhou, China

ARCHITECT: Zaha Hadid Architects

TOTAL AREA: 70,000 m2

YEAR: 2010

Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects


Guangzhou Opera House also called the Zaha Hadid’s (Iraqi-British Architect) “two stones” project. In April 2002, the project got introduced in an international architectural competition. Consequently, Zaha Hadid became the winner of the project that also had Coop Himmelb(l)au and Rem Koolhas as participants.

The theatre is now the biggest performing centre in Southern China and is the third biggest theatres in the country. The project costs about 1.36 billion yuan (the US $200million approx.). The American Filmmaker Shahar Stroh for its inauguration on May 2010, led the first function with Puccini’s opera “Turandot”. The project is one of the controversial works so far in the country. The structure locates at the foot of Zhujiang Boulevard which is across from the new Guangdong Provincial Museum.


As Simon Yu (Project Architect) says, “We liked erosion and stones. It worked well next to the Pearl River. The metaphor is two pebbles picked from the bed of the river and placed on the river bank.” The reason why the project also called the “two stones” is, that the location of the opera house is next to the Pearl River. Therefore, the form of the structure represents two stones placed near the Pearl River.

The design is a combination of the urban relationships and the cultural traditions, that together shapes the history of Guangzhou and further will direct its future as well. The evolution of the design comes from the natural landscape, which blends the architecture and nature and thus forming a fascinating structure on the whole. Moreover, the structure depicts the influence of river valleys transformed by soil erosion.

Aeriel View Guangzhou Opera House
Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects



The Opera House features an auditorium which has 1800 seating capacity, and with the latest acoustic technology. It also has a small multifunctional hall with 400 seating space used for the performing art, opera and concerts in the round.

Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid designed the round auditorium with seats arranged in an asymmetrical pattern, surrounding the stage from three sides. The auditorium also has undulating balconies cascading down to the front of the stage. Thousands of small lights cross the concave roof. The idea behind it was, that whenever lights go out, a feeling of sitting under the dome of a clear night sky should perceive.

In the landscape, fold lines define territories and zones within the Opera House. This creates a dramatic view in the interior and exterior canyons for circulation, lobbies and cafes and also allows the natural light to penetrate deep into the building.

Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects


elevation section
Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects




The exterior material used in the Guangzhou Opera House is glass and granite panels. Black granite with a flamed or rough-textured finish, used on the upper parts of the building to reinforce the idea of a pebble washed up on the bank. Around 75,000 granite panels used for coating combined with large windows and steel. For the interior, custom moulded glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRC) units used. To give life to the undulating forms of the lobby, plaster is also used in the interior.

Image ©Zaha Hadid Architects

Also, for much better understanding, watch the video

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